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Hickey to Daugaard: Withdraw Troops from Dakota Access Protest

Pastor Steve Hickey contends that the Dakota Access Pipeline is not worth trashing state-tribal relations in South Dakota. In an op-ed this week, the former Republican legislator calls on South Dakota to withdraw from the militarized law enforcement presence at the site of the Dakota Access protests in North Dakota:

As our state government and state patrol have joined the militarized forces in North Dakota to forcefully remove the DAPL water protectors from disputed treaty land, we risk a Wounded Knee III and setting state-tribal relations back four decades, or more. Please join me in asking Gov. Dennis Daugaard to call our troops home. We have to relate to Natives here when this is over [Rev. Steve Hickey, “Put Peace Before Pipeline,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.11.15].

Instead of cracking skulls near Cannonball, Rev. Hickey says we should be working on reconciliation here at home. And we can’t achieve that reconciliation if we don’t recognize the fundamental difference between our Western European materialism and Native spirituality:

Land is tied directly into Native spirituality and identity. It’s like white people don’t get it – we’ll stupidly and insensitively build the world’s biggest biker bar at the base of their sacred Bear Butte and mine uranium in their sacred hills – something I always voted no on. Why? Because the mountain and hills may not be sacred to us, but they are like a church to our Native population. Money isn’t a cultural commodity for Natives, as it is for us. Honor is their highly valued cultural commodity. Attend one of their ceremonies and you’ll sit through long rituals of honor, blankets, tributes, on and on. Yet, we only dishonor them and what they consider sacred – water and land – and so whether they are technically on legal ground to rightly challenge this pipeline, to me it appears this pipeline has simply become the flashpoint for years of justifiable resentment – like salt was in Gandhi’s resistance [Hickey, 2016.11.15].

Funny: in this conflict, the indigenous neighbors our ancestors called heathens are acting like the godly ones, while we white folks are behaving as if there is no god but money and words on earthly papers.


  1. Daniel Buresh 2016-11-18 10:56

    It’s godly to destroy public and private property, deny the rights of other citizens to move freely on public roadways, and to fire at police officers with guns?

  2. mike from iowa 2016-11-18 11:17

    it seems to be godly to burn Black churches and deface them with graffitti and allow police to kill unarmed Blacks. Halelujah and Hell Mary!

  3. mike from iowa 2016-11-18 11:26

    Steve Bannon.

  4. Mary, Quite Contrary 2016-11-18 12:00

    Have you wondered if a lot of “Christians” have started to worship the Republican party in this state of South Dakota?

  5. Sam@ 2016-11-18 13:10

    It amazes me almost 500 arrests and no one with a North Dakota Address. The people are paid professional protestors and need to go. They have taken a local issues and used it to push their own agenda.

    I support the Governor on he assistance he has offered to stop these protesters from burning cars, shooting at law enforcement. These people are not preaful protestors they are criminals and should be treated as such.

  6. dave 2016-11-18 13:19

    i know there is always two sides to any story, but im thinking attack dogs, rubber bullets and mace might be adding to the tension up there..

  7. Rorschach 2016-11-18 13:33

    These people who are protesting have too much time on their hands. They need need jobs. President Trump will take care of that, I’m sure.

    “Hear the drum pounding out of time. Another protester has crossed the line. To find, the money’s on the other side.” Green Day – Holiday

  8. jerry 2016-11-18 13:43

    What amazes me Sam@ is how ignorant your are about the location of Cannonball to South Dakota. As an example, it is a little over 50 miles to Mobridge, South Dakota. In economic terms, about a gallon and a half of gas from that area to a pretty major town along the Missouri River with great fishing. The area of Cannonball is part of Standing Rock Reservation that sits astride the borders between both North and South Dakota. You know if you make the kind of claims about professional protesters, where is your proof of payment? Would that not fall under having Workmen’s Compensation provided by the employers? How about health insurance, that would follow group health coverage so there should be an agent involved, where would be go to find that information?

    You would support the governor if he told you to make water in your jeans. Good news though, with the Russian involvement in your operations, you may even get to snap your boots together and give that outstretched salute. Lucky you.

  9. Roger Cornelius 2016-11-18 14:17

    The simple question Sam@, is who exactly is paying these water Protectors and how much are they getting paid What organization is cutting the checks for the Protectors.
    The fact of the matter is that tribes and tribal members from around the country have found that DAPL is a cause worth fighting for.
    Most of the money being donated to NODAPL is for a legal defense fund and there is a separate fund for Protectors food, travel, etc.
    The tribal members and even non-tribal members from around the world that have traveled to Cannonball have all done it at their expense, including my elderly sister from New Mexico.
    Show me one case of where a Protector has received any financial assistance Sam@.

  10. Jana 2016-11-18 14:45

    Good friend of mine is a minister in Minneapolis. HE and some of his parishioners were there and I know they weren’t paid.

    Out of curiosity @Sam, how many protesters in Selma were from Selma or paid? You seem to have a good source on whose paid figured maybe you could help.

  11. mike from iowa 2016-11-18 15:37

    Seriously, we should be more interested in Drumpf’s financial ties and all the billionaires that chipped in to defray costs for the militias.

  12. Paul harens 2016-11-18 16:25

    I have been following this protest from the beginning. It is sad that a peaceful protest is being fought with men and women who are part of the Status Quo and are ignoring the right of protest. I have had friends that have gone there. These protesters are not paid and they are coming from around the world – indigenous natives who’s rights have been trampled on in the past and the present. Isn’t it strange that the pipeline has violated the terms of their construction (hiding destruction of native grave sites) and are just getting fined and not stopped? Um….I support them 100%!

  13. mike from iowa 2016-11-18 16:58

    Paul- it is easier for the bad guys to lie their way through when they are free to demonize their opponents. I hear some of the arrested elders were held in cages in the jail’s basement among other abuses.

    I am glad you and others are there to lend support. DAPL found out that iowa isn’t the flat land everyone says it is. Here in Obrien and Cherokee counties there are plenty of timbered hills and valleys and creeks/rivers to be crossed and virtually every section of land has roads all around it.

  14. Donald Pay 2016-11-18 17:07

    My sheriff pulled our deputies out when he saw the militarized response to what should have been a fairly simple crowd control issue. The response of the authorities made the situation dangerous, and he wanted no part of it for his deputies. It’s not so much that the response will damage relationships with tribes, but that it’s really bad policing that should be condemned, not participated in.

    In Dane Couty, WI, we have a lot of protests from all sides of the political spectrum. The philosophy of police here is that law enforcement is here to protect the rights of people to peacefully protest. If the protestors want to commit civil disobedience, police are willing to communicate with the protestors to reduce the need for arrests or force. Yeah, sometimes this approach inconveniences some folks, but it allows protest while minimizing violence and property damage.

    We have gone a long way down the road to a police state over the last 15 years, and it has led to police who are out of control. Militarizing the police has been a very bad idea. Bringing in police from outside the area who don’t know the cultural issues, is bad policing.

  15. Douglas Wiken 2016-11-18 17:30

    It is good that Native Americans are protesting this pipeline, but it is sad that the whites of Mobridge, Pierre, Chamberlain, Yankton, Vermillion, the pipeline water system from Vermillion north, etc also aren’t protesting. This pipeline has the potential to poison water for tens of thousands of people. I listened to the executive of the company talking about shutoffs and thicker pipe, etc. Shutoffs on each side of the river can leave thousands of gallons of oil and solvents leaking. That pipe under the river if it is laid there should be double-walled, so that any spill from the primary pipe is caught by the outer pipe. There is no excuse for this crossing to not be made so that it cannot fail, rather than having a few percent of safety as part of mediocre engineering design.

  16. jerry 2016-11-18 18:02

    Mr. Wiken, you sir are making the sense that is needed and has been needed all along. You are correct in what you say about the dangers of downstream water issues as the intakes will all be destroyed by the leaks. Mobridge is a mere 50 miles from the underwater site. 50 miles is not a long way to go before wreaking havoc on the water systems that begin the dependency.

    Good points, very good points.

  17. Darin Larson 2016-11-18 18:15

    Mr. Wiken, I could not agree more with your comments about requiring double walled pipe under the river to detect leaks before they can pollute our water. I had the same thought. I thought this was a common sense safety measure that would help alleviate concerns. I am sure it would be costly, but what is the cost of mitigating an oil spill directly into the Missouri River going to be? How do you clean up an oil spill underneath a river? Where is the bond to pay for this cleanup when Energy Transfer Partners is broke?

  18. jerry 2016-11-18 18:59

    A double wall pipe can still break. It tends to give one the false promise of never doing so, but fail it will as do they all. The failure on this waterway would be more catastrophic than payments could be made for. The intakes of some major pipe lines will be damaged and corrupted in ways that could not have been imagined by the builders. Aberdeen is also on the WEB along with so many South Dakota towns and farms. Not a peep from them. Kind of gives you an idea of what water protection should be about.

    All are welcome to come to save your water.

  19. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-11-19 13:40

    Sam, just curious: when all of those unpaid, unprofessional protesters for whom Roger, Paul, and others vouch are faced with paid, professional security goons hired by Big Oil corporations and militarized police hired by the state, is there something inherently wrong with supporters using money to mobilize reinforcements for their protest?

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-11-19 13:42

    And in a similar vein that returns to Rev. Hickey’s original proposal, should we South Dakota taxpayers be spending our tax dollars on law enforcement to speed the construction of a private pipeline that will pad the pockets of the incoming President and his corporate pals at the expense of our own state-tribal relations?

  21. bearcreekbat 2016-11-19 16:06

    Sam@, can you direct us to where we can sign up for the job of “paid professional protestor?” I have searched high and low but cannot find the advertisement seeking “paid professional protestors” for the Pipeline nor for the anti-Trump protests. I am sure these jobs pay well, given the risks involved, and I know that there are a whole lot of folks apparently really hurting who need work. Where do we apply and what is the pay?

  22. bearcreekbat 2016-11-19 16:09

    Sam@, also I assume there is on the job training as I cannot find any “paid professional protestors” classes or degrees in our colleges or tech schools, and I never have seen such classes in high schools. Do you know if there is any minimum degree requirement?

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